Smooth Sailing with REEL Florida

By: Graduate Studies on

UCF biologists and students have created and released a new, free iPhone application designed to help the environment as well as boaters. Called REEL Florida, its goal is to protect the fragile ecosystem of Mosquito Lagoon and prevent boat crashes with oyster reefs. The application maps out key features of the lagoon, such as the location of oyster reefs and seagrass — an important food source for the species living in the lagoon — and includes a dictionary with pictures of the species normally found in or around the lagoon. The app also provides information such as the locations of boat ramps, historic sites, bait shops and contacts for agencies dedicated to preserving the lagoon.

UCF biologist and professor Linda Walters, PhD, was primarily involved in creating the application to promote safer boating. Denise DeLorme, PhD, professor of advertising at UCF, did research on what regular visitors to the lagoon were concerned about and wanted to see in the app. Several of DeLorme’s communications students were involved in the creation of the slogan and branding.

Drs. Walters and DeLorme’s main goal was to create an app that was easy to understand and use, so that it would appeal to a broader audience. Many boaters and visitors to the lagoon are already using the application, and it is receiving very positive feedback.

The application is currently only available in the App Store for iPhone. Dr. Walters said that research and work are being done so that another app covering a broader area can be developed.

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